Thursday, 17 August 2017

#FolkloreThursday ~ The Tin Islands #Cornwall #ancienthistory #Romans

It is that time of the week again.

Let’s take a journey back in time to the year c.100BC

The Phoenicians were fearless explorers. They sailed the High Seas looking for new lands and new items in which they could trade. It so happened that they came upon an island that was rich in a seemingly endless supply of tin.

Phoenician Merchants and Traders ~ Wikipedia

The Phoenicians became the primary traders of tin, but they kept the whereabouts of this island to themselves for it was a rich source of income. Tin was in high demand, especially from The Roman Empire. It would be bad for business if the Roman’s found out where the tin came from. They had to keep the location of the Island a secret at all costs.

The Romans were desperate to find the place that the Phoenicians merchants referred to as Cassiterides. As it was, the Phoenician merchants could charge what they wanted for their commodity. Tin was much sought after, and prices were rising. One Roman captain decided enough was enough. He was going to find these Tin Islands, and then they could cut out the middleman once and for all.

The Roman captain had the harbour watched, and when one Phoenician merchant set sail, the Roman captain followed. The Roman vessel kept its distance, for it did not want to alarm the crew of the Phoenician vessel, but they kept a steady course, always in the Phoenician boat's shadow.

The Phoenician merchant wasn’t stupid. He knew they were being followed. But there was no way he was going to let the Romans know where their endless source of tin came from. He took the Roman vessel on quite a merry chase. The Roman boat was built for the calm waters of the Mediterranean. The Phoenician boat could cope with the extremes of the Atlantic. But try as he might, the Phoenician captain could not lose them. No matter what he did, no matter where he steered his boat, the Roman vessel continued to follow.

The Phoenician captain had tried to lose the Roman vessel in the dangerously wild seas of the Atlantic, but now he decided to change tactics. He was close to Cassiterides, but that didn’t matter for he had a cunning plan. The Romans in the ship that was following him would indeed discover the location of the Tin Islands, but the Phoenician captain would make sure that they were never going to tell anyone else where the Island was. Cassiterides' coast was dangerous. In amongst the shallow waters were submerged rocks. The Phoenician captain deliberately steered his boat towards the shallows. He felt safe in the knowledge that the Roman vessel would follow him. And follow it did.

The crew of the Roman ship watched in horror as the Phoenician ship ran aground. The Roman's tried desperately to turn their boat around, but it was too late.  Their ship also ran aground and the unforgiving sea tore apart both their vessels and took the crew to a watery grave.

A Roman naval bireme ~ Wikipedia

When the locals of the Island deemed it safe, they came down to the beach to salvage the flotsam. But that was not all they found. Amongst the treasures, there was also a man, a sole survivor, who had washed up on the beach. He was easily identified as a Phoenician merchant, from his clothes. He was still breathing, just, so they took him to their village and nursed him back to health.

It took many months for the Phoenician to finally find his way home to what we now know as Syria. When he recounted his story about how he had kept the location of the Tin Island a secret he was praised as a hero. He was given the value of his lost cargo as a reward for his bravery and his sacrifice.

Is there any truth in the story?

Cassiterides has been linked with Galicia, in the Northwest of Liberia as well as Cornwall. But for the sake of today posts, let's make the assumption that the Phoenicians were referring to Cornwall.

Britain is often portrayed as this backward little island that had no contact with the outside world until the Roman’s invaded, but this wasn't the case. Coins, predating the Roman occupation have been found in Britain as well as many exotic artefacts from as far away as Egypt. Pre-Roman Britain was a trading nation.

There is some certainty that says that the Phoenicians certainly did trade with Britain, and Cornwall was renowned for its tin. So the evidence is rather compelling. But if Britain was trading with not only Europe but also the world, then why did the Roman's not know where the tin originally came from?

Perhaps there is more to this story than meets the eye. Perhaps the Romans did discover where the Island of Tin was.

It is interesting to note, that when the Roman’s did occupy Britain, for the most part they left Cornwall alone. Although there are a few examples of Roman villas and milecastles, there is not the evidence of Roman occupation as can be seen in the south of the country. Could it be that the Romans were already trading with Cornwall, before the invasion, and they were being charged a fair price for the tin? Could it be that they decided to keep things as they were and maintain the status-quo between Cornwall and Rome. An interesting question to end today's post on!

If you fancy joining me in the 6th Century, why not check out
 The Du Lac Chronicles series!

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Author’s Inspiration ~ David Pryce #HistFic #Wales @Madog1170

Please give a warm Coffee Pot welcome to historical fiction author, David Pryce. David is going to share with us his inspirations behind his latest book…

1170: The Legend of Prince Madoc

Author’s Inspiration

300 Years before Columbus…
Native American tradition tells of a brave group of pale skinned explorers who many generations ago crossed a ‘Great Water’ to get to their lands; these people called themselves ‘Welsh’ and this is their story…
Join Prince Madoc and his intrepid band of followers as they turn their backs on treachery and duplicity and undertake a voyage that will test their togetherness, belief and fighting spirit; taking them beyond the known boundaries of civilization to distant lands far to the west.

Prince Madoc ap Owain was an illegitimate son of the great Prince of Wales, Owain Gwynedd. Destined like many of his siblings to be consigned to historical anonymity, it seems that Madoc had other ideas.  Instead of obscurity, adventure beckoned and trailing in the footsteps of Norse explorer of yore, Madoc and his followers headed across the Atlantic Ocean, making final landfall at Mobile Bay in modern day Alabama; some three hundred years before Signore Colombo. It is hypothesized that from there they eventually headed up river into the interior of the country (remains of stone forts that some attribute to the Welsh explorers can be found in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee).

My own Prince Madoc adventure began in more modest circumstances, with an e-mail from my brother-in-law back home in North Wales. Had I heard of a Welsh prince who’d discovered America? I hadn’t, but that soon changed as I voraciously researched.
Initially my ambitions stretched no further than a factual article or two, perhaps a modest blog, but the more I dug the more I felt that Madoc deserved more. Perhaps I was driven on by the fact that I was also a Welshman who had journeyed across the Atlantic - albeit in considerably more comfort and with distinctly less peril - to call this continent home?
Could I really write a book though? I’d dabbled as a child, but nothing since. I scoured the internet for tips and advice and discovered a whole community out there for budding authors. I started a spreadsheet to track my daily and weekly word totals and every day I lost myself in 12th century Wales. My characters took on life and writing allowed me to disappear from the everyday mundane.
I decided to pen the tale as a trilogy and several months later the first book was finished. Exciting? Well to be honest, I felt a little flat. I started to have withdrawal symptoms; what was I going to do without my daily fix of Madoc, Cynwrig, Fergal, Ioan and the rest of my protagonists? Then there was the editing…Long story short; after completing books two and three, a chance conversation convinced me to combine and re-edit the three books into one, and 1170 was born…or should that be reborn?
David Pryce

Links for Purchase

About the Author

David Pryce was born and bred in North Wales; after graduating with a Mining Engineering degree he spent the next seven years living and working in Southern Africa.
He currently resides in Colorado, but returns to North Wales on a regular basis to visit family and rediscover his intrinsic ‘Welshness’. This also affords him the opportunity to eat some decent fish and chips and sink a pint or three of real beer!

You can visit David online at and connect with him on twitter @Madog1170

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Blog Tour ~ Sarah’s Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness #HistFic @hfvbt

Book Blast ~ Historical Virtual Book Tour Presents....

Sarah’s Secret:

A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness

By Beverly Scott

Follow the paths of Sarah and Will (or Sam) as they tell their stories of trust, secrets, and betrayal on the frontier in the old West. Their pioneer spirit helped to fuel the expansion into the Western territories of the United States. The two are historically on their separate journeys, yet they remain intimately connected. Through the fictionalized Western frontier tale of Sam and Sarah, the author, Beverly Scott, was inspired to reveal rumored secrets from her family history.

In 1878, Will is on the run after killing a man in a barroom gunfight. He escapes the Texas Rangers by joining a cattle drive as a cook headed to Dodge City. He struggles with the dilemma of saving his life or attempting to return to his pregnant wife and five children. Just when he thinks he might be able to return home, he is confronted by a bounty hunter who captures him and plans to return him to Fort Worth, Texas to be hanged.

Although Will changes his name to Sam, he remains an irresponsible, lonely and untrustworthy man on the dodge from the law who abandons the women he loves. He ultimately seeks redemption and marries Sarah.
In 1911, Sarah, a pioneer woman and widow with five children struggles to find the inner strength to overcome betrayal, loneliness, fears, and self-doubt. Her husband, Sam, thirty years her senior, died with a mysterious and defiant declaration, “I won’t answer!”. Despite poverty and a crippling illness, she draws on her pioneer spirit to hold her family together and return to Nebraska to be near her parents and siblings.
When Sarah returns to Nebraska she receives staggering news which complicates her efforts to support her children. She is shocked, angry and emotionally devastated. Since she is attempting to establish herself in the community as a teacher, she believes she must keep her secret even from her own family. Will Sarah find forgiveness in her heart and the resolve to accept her new life alone?

Praise for Sarah’s Secret

“In the flash of one moment, the trajectory of a man’s life and of those who loved and depended on him changes forever. The developing plot draws the reader in as we wait to see how this one action reaches into and impacts the lives of future generations. Set against the backdrop of a post-Civil War nation, when thousands headed west to escape their past, disappear into the horizon, and remake themselves, this biography is a rich study of pioneer ethos and the risks faced every day. The women touched by this man, who kept his secrets close, are heroines of courage, steadfastness and goodness. Beverly Scott is an author who has a way of painting word pictures that make you feel like you are a part of the story as it unfolds towards the discovery of his devastating secrets.”

Patricia and Craig Neal, co-founders, Heartland Inc.

“Using the plain spoken language of the women and men who scratched out life on the hard scrabble plains in the early days of this young country Bev Scott crafts a sharp picture of the violence and the love that shaped the middle of this nation. Every river crossing, each spring planting reveals the conflicts inside the characters and their struggle to survive in contested territories.”

Jewell Gomez, Author, The Gilda Stories

Book Extract
In the afternoon, I gently washed Sam's thin body. His ribs had pushed against his skin. His knees looked like knobs on sticks. He had wasted away in the last weeks. I held his hand and stroked his withered finger, injured during the War. My tears and sadness flowed all over him as I washed him and whispered goodbye. I told him that despite his rough edges, he was good to me. I would miss his wisdom, his care and support, his companionship. Then I dressed him in his best pants and shirt. His black hair was only flecked with gray even now. I stared for a long time remembering the dark handsome man I married almost twenty years before.
Afterward, I stepped outside. The winter light was fading. From the door, I could just barely see the rocky brown hills. They seemed rude, pushing up through the dry grasslands, demanding that I notice them. No sign of human disturbance in this barren landscape except for our animal shed.
I felt myself shiver. The wind was unusually still for New Mexico, but the air was crisp and cold. I went back inside. I wanted to feel the heat from the fire in the stove. I wanted to be warm, really warm. I sat down in my rocking chair rocking slowly. The coldness inside moved up my back and tingled at the nape of my neck. I fingered the piece of Wyoming jade Sam had given me when he pro-posed, remembering that he promised steadfast love.
“I'm a widow,” I said aloud. I was alone, completely responsible for the children, not just for a few weeks or the winter season until Sam returned. I felt cold, flat. I opened my Bible, hoping for solace. I began to survey the landscape of my mind, much as I had the landscape outside. My mind was a closed book with all the memories of my life with Sam shut away. “I am alone.” There were no images of the future. But to my surprise, I also felt a sense of calm and relief.
I stopped rocking. Was my relief because Sam was no longer suffering, or because I no longer felt torn between his demands and the children? I had known that he would leave me a widow given the thirty-year age difference be-tween us. I thought I had prepared myself to face many years without a husband. Now, I was annoyed that he had left me with five children, including an infant, with no means of support. Could I cope without him?
I straightened up remembering how I had steeled myself against my fear of being alone when we lived in Oklahoma. I had learned to cope with his long absences to meet with the government agent about his Veteran's pension. I reminded myself, that I had also loved my independence when I was young. Now, as I thought back to those times alone in Oklahoma facing the challenges of sick children, wandering livestock or bitter winter storms, I felt a calm and growing confidence that I could handle this challenge.
I rocked quietly now, continuing to feel the mixture of relief, sadness, resentment and fear. I felt the smoothness of the jade in my apron pocket again. It had rough edges which Sam had compared to himself.
Soon the children would be home from town and Patricia would wake from her afternoon nap. The familiar knot in my back tightened. Being a woman alone with five children would be hard. It would be even harder to make ends meet. Would we even have enough to eat? Could I keep Daniel, Joe and Charlie from going off on their own and maybe getting into trouble? But I couldn't let myself get discouraged. They're good boys.

I reassured myself that I could handle this. I had to. I sat up straight. Together, as a family, we would be strong.

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Sarah’s Secret! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

* Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
* Giveaway is open to US residents only.
* Only one entry per household.
* All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
* Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

You can enter HERE

Links for Purchase

About the author

Bev specialized in serving executives and managers as a leadership coach and organizational consultant for over thirty-five years. She taught organization psychology and founded The 3rd Act, a program whose mission supports positive aging. As she grew into her own third act, she started a genealogical journey to uncover the details of her grandparents’ lives. She concluded that the story needed to be told as fiction using the known facts as her framework.

“Sarah’s Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness,” Bev’s debut novel, is the culmination of her long-held desire tell the family story and confirm the whispered story about her grandfather.

Bev previously focused on publishing non-fiction work, including the second edition of “Consulting on the Inside,” which she co-authored with Kim Barnes, published in 2011. She has written numerous professional articles and contributed to “70 Things to Do When You Turn 70,” edited by Ronnie Sellers and Mark Chimsky. Bev blogs on several sites, including her own, “The Writing Life” on

Bev enjoys traveling, visiting with friends, reading and spending time with her grandsons. She lives with her spouse in San Francisco.

Useful Links

Sarah’s Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness
by Beverly Scott
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 306 Pages
Word Project Press

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Western